In The Age of Intelligent Machines (1990), inventor and visionary computer scientist, Raymond Kurzweil predicted that there will be a huge increase in the use of technology and an exponential growth in the internet. And by mid-21st century, AI would overtake human brain in computational capabilities. Eventually it would lead to intelligence explosion resulting in a powerful super intelligence that qualitatively surpass all human intelligence.
Musk’s Neuralink could lead to that “intelligence explosion”.
What is Neuralink?
Neuralink chip is a form of neural probes that are implanted into tissues of cranial cavity. Just like a cardiac stent, the Neuralink will be the neuro- stent that is implanted within a human skull to restore lymph functions.
The main idea behind this neuro stent is to merge humans with AI, and eventually save human species from the growing and most probably the more advanced artificial intelligence.
In sync with AI
We are consistently surrounded with AI and Internet, whether it’s our,
- smart watch
- mobile phones
- vacuum cleaners
AI is just everywhere. And Internet is like a fuel, that is powering these machines. With every technological advancement, these machines are becoming more intelligent than their previous version.
In this scenario, the implantable Brain-Machine Interface will take our sync with AI to the next level.
So, what is the next level?
Generally, there is a slight lag when we are looking for some specific answer, information, data or searching the internet. The lag builds up as we process this info before taking it out. Over all, the entire process right from searching till taking out is time consuming. After all, compressing complex process into words takes some amount of time.
However, this time lag will reduce drastically once the connection between human and machine go seamless. Neuralink is the first step towards man and machine to physically merge together.
Neuralink implant will give untapped access to internet
Neuralink is a tiny 4X4 mm or a coin-sized chip that is directly implanted into brain.
Attached to the chip are tiny wires – threads around 4 to 6 μm in width – 10 times thinner than human hair. Interestingly, these threads are of same thickness as neuron. This becomes important (for threads) to record impulses and evaluate data.
These threads are embedded at central parts of the brain, where they not only decipher messages that are transmitted between neurons but also stimulates its own responses after relaying info back to the chip.
Thus, after it gets latticed into the neuronal architecture, it acts as a neuron itself and not only reads info that the brain communicates but input info back into the brain as well.
Single neuron chip will be able to communicate with 1000 different brain cells. And an individual can have 10 implants, that is, having 10 thousand connections.
First version of Neuralink chip had 250 electrodes. Patients with N1 chip were able to control computer cursors, speech synthesisers and robotic limb with nothing but with the power of their mind.
However, FDA approved brain implant has only 10 connections. Installation of these chips would be straightforward as laser eye surgery, says Musk.
With Neuralink humans will be able to do anything that a computer or smartphone can do. Brain will have untapped access to internet or the knowledge. Eventually humans, with Neuralink implants, with know everything, much before asking any questions. Just a thought would do.
Neuralink is also about interaction and communication
Neuralink is not only about information but also about interaction and communication.
The high bandwidth brain-machine interface is embedded with AI tech that can wirelessly transmit electric signals. Seamlessly, users would be able to communicate with other internet dependent devices, like computers, Alexa, smartwatch, IoT and other chip wearers with mind power alone. And it will be a real time communication, without any time lag.
Neuralink will connect and control almost anything with internet connection. Thus, improving symbiosis between already existing man and machine, says Musk.
Gradually, internet of things will morph to internet of humans.
Installation of Neuralink
Neuralink chip interfaces anywhere in brain. Installation requires, drilling nearly 1-inch diameter piece of skull and replacing it with Neuralink device. Finally, joining the tiny hole with stitches. It would resemble a li’l scar.
The device consists of:
- Conductive driver
Very carefully electrodes are inserted with the help of a bot. Electrodes are just tiny wires of around 2-3 mm. The precision would help in avoiding any damage to any veins or arteries. Tiny wires will be stimulating the areas of the brain.
Brain has circuits. Circuits are connections of neurons. With age or injury, these circuits get broken or disoriented. Neuralink could help fix those circuits.
What would happen if someone gets Neuralink installed?
Overall, Neuralink will have the ability to fix anything that is wrong with the brain. Some of the things that it can restore are as follows:
- Return eyesight even in case of any damage to optic nerve.
- Assists with the perception and interpretation of sound.
- Implant in cortex would help in restoring lymph functionalities.
- Cure any kind of brain dysfunction such as epilepsy, brain stroke that might lose ability to speak, old age Alzheimer, dementia, restoring memory to name a few.
- Neuralink users would telepathically connect with each other.
- With the chip, neuroscientists would be able to obtain visual information on the functions of brain
- Visualization is not that difficult but putting it down in concrete form is a complex task. However, with Neuralink chip the things will get an easy access thus, tapping the hidden creativity.
- Since, it would help connecting circuits in people with dementia, memories will surface on demands.
- Implanting Neuralink will act as an extra AI laden layer (on the limbic system and cortex) thus, improving symbiosis between human and machine.
- The chip is the first tool, ever created, that might help to understand conscious better. One of the greatest mysteries of science.
- In its next version, the Neuralink chip might pick up chemical cues from the various neurotransmitters and other physical signals from neuronal circuits to foresee disease, understand and treat brain disorders, like depression, anxiety, fear and phobias.
No doubt, Musk’s Neuralink sounds like futuristic application, aim of which is to preserve and enhance brain to create a well align future with AI.
Interestingly, like any other mechanical device, Neuralink chip can also be replaceable. And in future, it could be up-gradable. Yep, we could be the next Alita.